Okay, so I haven't thought this through completely (this being an internet message board), but the concept has been swirling around in my head for some time. So, forgive me for the (perhaps) imprecise, overly generalized manner of communicating this.
Let's say you can break down the virtues/sins/acts, etc. in terms of external and internal. You could also use public vs personal or words to similar effect. For example, there are those virtues/sins which directly implicate how your conduct/actions relates to someone else, and those which directly implicate your own soul and internal spiritual health. Granted, it is all integrally related (feeding the poor impacts your spiritual health) but I think you know what I mean.
Now, what if you struggle with your personal thoughts/demons, you try to fast but are inconsistent, perhaps lack in self control, are a bit vain, like money a bit too much, etc. but you really try (and do), when it comes to how you "meet the world" and others to feed the poor, be merciful and so forth.
Ignoring the fact that it is hard (impossible) to truly separate these matters into 2 discrete boxes, I think you get my drift.
Can you "make up" for your internal shortcomings by giving alms, feeding the hungry, being charitable, being kind to others as Jesus commanded?
I was thinking about this in terms of some folks I've known (one in particular who died this week very suddenly) who seemed to have many personal shortcomings (seemed to be a functioning alcoholic, for example) of which people were aware, but he nonetheless was gracious and loving towards others. I'M NOT speculating about this person's salvation, but it illustrates my point that sometimes people can be seriously flawed internally, but perhaps make up for it in other areas.
I don't have a specific question, but I'm interested in any thoughts you (pl.) may have by the issues presented, particularly in the context of salvation.